Niagara Gazette

December 30, 2012

VINCENT DAVIS: New Year's Eve is new 'fiscal cliff'

Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Congratulations! If you are reading this you’ve officially survived the Christmas season. Some of us are no doubt still embroiled in the forced social interactions of Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus, etc… and for those people I say, stand strong, you can do it.

If you find yourself among the lucky crowds who are done ‘spreading cheer’ and ‘talking to your family’ for the year it’s time for you to sit back, and kick your feet up as you cruise into the new year … or is it?

Consumer counseling agencies see a 25 percent increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February, and most of that traffic is propelled to their doors because of the simple fact that one cannot purchase iPad minis with good behavior and coupons for “1 free hug.”

Kids, tweens, teens and yes, even full time adults can get caught up in the idea that the holidays are about living the dream and taking a few days off from harsh realities to enjoy a little bit of magic. Unfortunately, Visa does not share your belief in magic, and will still be looking for payment come the first. If Christmas debt wasn’t enough, adults aged 21 and older are looking into the abyss of an even greater potential drop off of our personal fiscal cliffs: New Year’s Eve.

For generations the dawning of a new year has been a magical time for bars, restaurants and hotels. A special time where two cocktails, one appetizer and two entrees, (normally priced at $30) skyrocket in value; “How much should one drink cost, is $30 too little?” that was a snippet of the conversations going down at hotel bars across the country as you read this. How much do you think a sparkler should cost? Three or four dollars? Not on New Year’s; I want ten sparklers and I won’t pay less than $15 apiece.

We live in a time post-“My Super Sweet Sixteen” where people are raised to believe that their self-worth is directly tied to how expansive their night on the town is. Do you think our forefathers rolled into the White House on NYE in expensive carriages and compared whose wig was the most powdered? No, especially since the White House wasn’t built until 1792, congratulations, no you’re bad at prioritizing what you value when partying and American History.

The “traditional” NYE celebration that much of the U.S. models their celebrations after started in New York City in 1904 when Alfred Ochs, owner of the New York Times suggested that the city celebrate near the site of the NYT’s massive new offices in Longacre Square.

If you’re not familiar with Longacre Square that’s because it doesn’t exist as yet another of Ochs’ suggestions was that the city change the name of its central square to reflect the most dominant building at that location The Times’ new offices. Before Alfred Ochs and his influence, (definitely not bribes), the place to ring in the New Year for New York’s movers and shakers was the luxurious and always flashy Trinity Church.

I’m not putting one way of celebrating over another, after all, everyone knows how much I love $20 sparklers, but when it comes down to it, New Year’s is about getting together with loved ones to celebrate the fact that you’ve made it this far, remember those who haven’t, reminisce about what made this year so great and what’s going to make the next year even better and even in this economy.

Those kinds of things are free.

Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. His column appears on the second and fourth Friday of every month. He can be contacted at